With a welcoming banner over the entranceway, friends, family and guests joined the joyful graduates at the Hot Sun Foundation Gala, 27 March 2010 at Olympic, in Kibera. The celebration honoured the first group of Kibera youth trainees who successfully completed the seven-month Kibera Film School Foundation course in Filmmaking. Kibera Film School is unique in being located in east Africa's largest slum and working with local youth to tell their stories on film.
Guest of honour, Paul Dziatkowiec Deputy High Commissioner of the Australian High Commission, Australia, gave the opening speech which inspired the graduates to pursue the vision of Hot Sun Foundation of social transformation through art and media. Master of Ceremony, John Ngaruiya, himself a graduate, spoke of the early days of Hot Sun Films/Foundation, when a group of Kibera youth sat on boxes in a small courtyard in Kibera to work on film scripts.
Hot Sun Foundation trustees Nathan Collett, Pamela Collett, and Mercy Murugi spoke of the future plans for Kibera Film School to become a centre of film training and production. Mercy noted that four Kibera youth have been nominated for the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for their roles in the Kibera feature film, TOGETHERNESS SUPREME: Martha Kisaka for most promising actress, Wilson Maina for most promising actor, Billy Oloo and Teddy Onyango for best child actors. All are from Kibera. None had acted before their starring roles in TOGETHERNESS SUPREME, which was nominated for best film in an African language. **
Graduate Martha Kisaka, who also had the lead female role in TOGETHERNESS SUPREME was awarded the Overall Best in Narrative and Documentary Film in the Kibera Film School competition, judged by three professionals in the Kenyan film and media industry.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was when parents who were present came forward to congratulate their daughters and sons. One father had wanted his son Josphat Keya to become an electrician and was doubtful about filmmaking, but now is very proud and delighted that his son is following his passion.
All of the graduates have employment in the industry. One of the graduates has been employed as an assistant editor for a Kenyan TV program. One graduate has become an intern at Hot Sun Films. One graduate, Josphat Keya, is now the coordinator for the Kibera Film School and the Kibera TV project. The other five graduates are teaching at the Kibera Film School, facilitating community workshops, films screenings and producing Kibera TV.
** Since the writing of this post (which somehow got misplaced and wasn't posted in a timely fashion), TOGETHERNESS SUPREME won two awards at the AMAA held in Nigeria: Most Promising Actor and Best Child Actors. Producer Mercy Murugi and actress Martha Kisaka attended the ceremonies and accepted the awards on behalf of Hot Sun Films.
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